Georgia man used $57K of COVID-19 relief loan to buy Pokemon card, feds say

Gotta catch ‘em all? Federal prosecutors believe they have caught a Georgia man they say improperly used some of his COVID-19 loan money.

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Vinath Oudomsine, of Dublin, is accused of using more than $57,000 of it to buy a rare Pokemon card, prosecutors said.

Oudomsine was charged Tuesday with one count of wire fraud, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia, The Macon Telegraph reported. Prosecutors said Oudomsine lied about how many employees he had and the revenue his business generated when he filed for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan during the pandemic, the newspaper reported.

If convicted, Oudomsine faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines, prosecutors said.

When contacted on Thursday, Oudomsine referred questions to his attorneys, WMAZ reported. Defense attorneys declined to comment in a statement to McClatchy News.

Dublin is located about 50 miles southeast of Macon in central Georgia.

According to prosecutors, Oudomsine submitted an EIDL application in July 2020 on behalf of a business. His application stated that his business had 10 employees and gross revenue of $235,000 over 12 months, according to The Telegraph. As a result, the Small Business Administration awarded Oudomsine an $85,000 loan on Aug. 4, 2020.

SBA loans are aimed at helping businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic by providing working capital. Business owners were allowed to use the money for payroll, production costs, debts, rents and mortgage payments.

However, unlike Paycheck Protection Plan loans, EIDLs are not eligible for forgiveness.

Prosecutors allege that five months later, Oudomsine used a large chunk of the loan to buy a Pokemon card for $57,789, The Telegraph reported. It was unclear from the filings which Pokemon card was bought, the newspaper reported.

Pokemon cards still command high prices at auctions, particularly first-edition cards. A mint-condition, first-edition shadowless holographic PSA 10 Charizard sold for $220,574 to retired rapper Logic during an auction in October 2020, according to Dice Breaker.

That record was broken in November 2020 after a copy of the Shadowless Charizard sold at auction for $350,100, and another copy was sold by Goldin Auctions for $369,000, the website reported.

Earlier this year, the federal government estimated that the SBA approved at least 3,000 EIDL loans to people who were ineligible, WMAZ reported.

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